Desert cactus engagement session

Phoenix, Arizona cactus + mountains engagement session

Emina and Trevor’s engagement session in the Arizona desert with cactus and sunshine was one of my favorites!!! Emina grew up in Iowa so the desert landscape is very unquie to her, just like to me coming from Ohio!! Trevor grew up in the area and isn’t new to cactus but he still enjoys the landscape!! They wanted the classic Arizona desert look so I took them to the White Tank Mountains in West Phoenix for this beautiful look!

They met on a plane of all places!! Fell in love over the phone after Trevor asked for her number. Through the years they did long distance and close. They are so in love. It was a joy to photograph them in the Phoenix desert. I also got to be their wedding photographer…but look for those photos soon since I’m not finished editing them! I love being an Arizona wedding photographer, it’s my joy to photograph engagement sessions and weddings in such beautiful locations.

Charlotte + Ben // Arizona

“As we grow old may it be told that we never lost our flame. If love is a fire then our desire it to burn a whole tank. “ -Josh Garrels

THE tension between Ben and Charlotte, all the time, but especially on their wedding day can be described using these words: spicy, sexy, and steamy. 

So if that helps you at all understand their first dance, or the kiss during the ceremony, or the portrait session. They are so incredibly in love with each other which is apparent not only through the physical but also their deeply connected hearts and minds. 

Arizona offers a variety of venues and theirs was ON POINT! Filled with willow trees, windmill, and Italian looking stucco, I didn’t have a hard time finding places to photograph! This is my fourth wedding with this great group of friends in Flagstaff. The groomsmen were so use to my directions. BTW- they all love being in front of the camera, it’s hysterical. The girls, I mean just look at them, SO freaking beautiful. I couldn’t take a bad photo even if I tried at their wedding. 

I really love it when couples don’t do a first look. The tension in the room is full of wonder, excitement, and celebration. When we invite our community into that place I think we are offering a human experience that is rare and honest. To see the grooms reaction as he sees his bride walk down the isle, to watch the father of the bride give his daughter away, and to see the space between two people be almost visible, doesn’t happen anywhere else. I think it’s an honor to be invited into that shared experience. That it was for Ben and Charlotte. I might have teared up a little bit when photographing. It’s always when the guy starts crying during his vows is when I tear up. I watch the parents face through my camera lens, which mind you no one other then the bridal party can see, and I loose it. Both sets of parents have prayed and thought about this moment in their child’s life. It’s as if you can feel the father’s happiness yet sadness of the reality that his little girl is no longer little. And the mother of the groom’s face holds all the years of doubt and unknowns for her sons future. It all gets tied up during the ceremony, with a wash of relief as the couple kisses and walks into the next stage of their life together. 

Logan + Parker // Ajo, AZ

On the Mexican border lies a tiny little town that offers much. Ajo, Arizona. Logan and Parker would drive to the beach in Mexico and always joked they wanted to get their engagement photos taken in this corky little town. Well- I help dreams become reality for people!

Logan and Parker met on Bumble. On their first date they both knew it was meant to be! From then on they have been inseparable. Their hearts are united so closely as friends and lovers. They are so sweet on each other and towards each other. I am always amazed by all the different types of relationships I get to see through photography. Their’s is truly special.

Ajo has streets and streets filled with artwork and it’s AMAZING! Down every alley there is amazing street art that lines the walls and fills the town. We HAD to stop and grab a few fun shots in front. The colors popped!! Then we raced out into the desert to find the most perfect cactus and scenery. Logan is from Louisiana so cactus are so amazing to her. Parker is a phoenix boy but loves the desert vibes. We ate Mexican food, had margaritas, and danced till the sunset. Cannot wait to photograph their Phoenix wedding next year!!

Arizona’s Best Engagement Session locations

The reason why I love Arizona is because the immense diversity all in one state.  You have mountains, desert, cactus, lakes, canyons, red rocks, and trees. It’s truly an amazing state, one that often gets only recognition for being a desert. Below is a list of my FAVORITE Arizona locations for outdoor engagement sessions. My clients usually want something extreme and different than their normal. I try my best to find the most unique locations to have a beautiful experience to remember.

1.Sedona

Maybe it’s because it’s the place I feel most at peace in Arizona or it’s gorgeous landscape but Sedona is my FAVORITE place to photograph couples in Arizona. With the epic red rock background and creekside sounds Sedona has something for everyone. I have my top spots to go such as Tlaquepaque, Cathedral Rock, Oak Creek Canyon, and Red Rock Crossing to get a variety of Sedona. You will see below why it’s my favorite.

2. Page

Can you say OMG epic? Between Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Lake Powell Page has endless options for photoshoots here in the desert. The orange rust color does amazing things to the skin. Just remember to get a permit (if needed for location), bring water, and get tacos after the shoot in Page at any of their amazing Mexican restaurants. Also, don’t wear the color orange/red because you want to stand out among the rocks not blend in.

3. Grand Canyon

Ridiculously amazing is a good phrase to use for a Grand Canyon engagement session! It’s overwhelming and romantic. Park entrance fee is $30 so be prepared for that! With the Arizona harsh light be aware it is VERY hard to shoot until the sunsets or right after. The canyon is beautiful but hard to shoot sometimes. Find spots where the photographer can be up higher to get a more full look of the canyon.

4. Flagstaff

My hometown! This place is special because I know all the hidden gems to get the best angles of the mountain. If you want a view of the mountain you’ll have to stay in town or go out on a forest service road. If you want to be in the mountain and aspen go up to either Snowbowl or Lockett Meadow! In August there are sunflowers EVERYWHERE. If you want snow come up during the winter and if you want the colors of leaves changing come up during late September-October. It’s a glorious place to get your photos done always with good sunsets!

5. Phoenix

There are MANY spots you can go in Phoenix to get a desert cactus look! Botanic gardens is a great spot along with South Mountain. Remember the desert is best to photograph in the morning or evening due to harsh light. Light colors look good in the desert along with black. You really can’t go wrong. It’s unique and different! 

6. Fossil Creek

YES Arizona has waterfalls!! you just have to go searching for them. This location is a bit of a hike but SO worth it. You will need a permit to go because they only let a few people in each day. Remember to do it online through the forest service a week or more in advance! Those blue waters are perfect to take a dip in and then photograph with a lover. 

Jamie + Cody // Sedona, AZ

Freaking Cuties!!!

These to love birds met and fell in love in Flagstaff AZ. She is gentle, sweet, kind. He is goooofy, genuine, and a gentleman. We explored the creek side desert of Sedona. It was also autumn which added to the beautiful colors mixed with the red rocks. They danced, LAUGHED A LOT, and twirled in the sun. They get married next April in the warm Phoenix, AZ sun. And I’m so excited I can’t wait!

Dani + Kyle // Flagstaff, AZ

September 29th // Forest Highlands Golf Course

oh the sweet smell of pine trees with a crisp autumn breeze in the air is Flagstaff’s normal during the months of September and October.

Dani and Kyle met while attending NAU as students. They worked at the school newspaper where they were caught flirting ALL the time. Up until this day, they both denied it. While everyone around them knew there was something between them, they ignored it for a while. Finally, they gave into the sweet feelings of love and their lives have never been the same since.

Forest Highlands golf resort is one of Flagstaff’s best venues. With mountain views, pine trees consuming you, and a great outdoor wedding venue option, their wedding was not to disappoint. The ceremony was outside on the green lawn under the shade. Like I said above, there was this perfect fall breeze in the air on September 29th. Dani and Kyle’s relationship is the best mix of friendship and romance. There is this goofy, sarcastic, humor to them at the same time you can feel their mutual respect, loyalty, and spark.

AND HER DRESS omg. I can’t even. You’ll see when you scroll down!

Vendors: Florals: Shawn Foster Wright // Cake: Stephanie Crowe // DJ: Colin Strang // HAMU: Chriss Francis Boomshell beauty // Venue: Forest Highlands // Wedding Dress: Soterro and Midgley Amalie // Rings: Artcaved //